It’s easy to think about Italy when sipping on a frothy cappuccino ― just uttering the name for this drink can make some of us sound (for better or for worse) Italian. But there’s something you need to know about this drink before actually enjoying one in Italy: never order it after 11 a.m.
Cappuccinos, caffé lattes and any other milk-based coffee beverages are considered breakfast in Italy. That’s why you should only order said drinks in the morning, and not too late in the morning either. Eataly suggests: “Don’t order these drinks after 11 a.m. Italians only enjoy milky coffee in the morning ― never in the afternoon, and especially not after a meal!”
Sure, these days it’s easy to find a cappuccino almost any time of day in Italy, but those are on the menu only to make tourists happy ― it isn’t an accepted part of Italian coffee culture.
“Cappuccino is a breakfast drink for Italians because milk is associated with this time of day. While there are plenty of dairy products like amazing cheeses, Italians don’t drink much milk in general ― milk is for the cappuccino or a baby bottle,” master barista Giorgio Milos at Illy told HuffPost via email.
The reason Italians reserve milky coffee drinks for the morning (with a pastry) is because they consider it to be too heavy for afternoon or after-meal drinking. If you think about how filling these beverages can be, the logic makes sense.
When Italians need a little caffeine in the afternoon, they drink an espresso. But they don’t call it espresso, because in Italy it’s just coffee (or caffé). To order a shot of espresso in Italy, “you would just say caffè,” explains Milos. Espresso is the technical term and caffé is the drink. Variations on the espresso, like a doppio (which is a double shot) or a macchiato (which comes with a dash of milk), are also accepted.
Now you’re ready for a trip to Italy. Andiamo!